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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Rolls Out Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Guidelines for Law Enforcement Professionals, and Law Enforcement Training Programs

Law enforcement professionals developed guidelines with support from survivors, providers
For immediate release:
2/18/2021
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Rolls Out Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Guidelines for Law Enforcement Professionals, and Law Enforcement Training Programs

Brooke Karanovich, Media Relations Manager

Lt. Governor Polito smiling in office

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced new Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Guidelines. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito made the announcement at a virtual event with the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Human Trafficking Subcommittee, Chief Robert Ferullo of the Municipal Police Training Committee, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, Audrey Morrisey of My Life My Choice and Beth Bouchard of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County.

Local law enforcement agencies are often the first to come into contact with victims involved with this covert crime, and as first responders, law enforcement agencies play a critical role in identifying and responding to trafficking victims and intervening in instances of human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Guidelines were developed through a cross-disciplinary team led by law enforcement officials with the goal of establishing best practice standards for law enforcement when responding to and investigating potential human trafficking scenarios. These guidelines are intended to be used by current law enforcement professionals, and to inform the curriculum in law enforcement training programs. The full guidelines can be found here.

“I am grateful for the leadership of the law enforcement officials who led this effort to develop clear, pragmatic guidelines to better identify trafficking and support survivors with compassion, and to Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who continues to bring human trafficking and sexual assault and domestic violence issues to the forefront, and supports the Commonwealth’s communities to always do more for youth and adult survivors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These new guidelines build on the work done in partnership with law enforcement, human services and community providers over the past 6 years, further bolstering the Multidisciplinary Team approach to supporting survivors, and the specialized focused on youth and other high-risk victims.”

“Our administration continues to develop multi-disciplinary approaches to identifying and combatting human trafficking in the Commonwealth, and sensitive law enforcement response is critical to combating trafficking and responding to the needs of trafficking victims,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Governor's Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. “The law enforcement professionals involved took the time to develop an approach to human trafficking that is timely, pragmatic, and appropriate, but also builds survivor-focused skills in the law enforcement community, increasing communities’ confidence in the police.”

“Human trafficking continues to occur in communities across our state, and we must do all that we can to support victims and survivors, especially vulnerable children, many of whom don’t have access to traditional support systems during the pandemic,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “We are proud to be a part of this effort to provide improved training for law enforcement on the ground to help them identify and investigate human trafficking and assist survivors in accessing the services and support they need.”

“Our shared goal with these guidelines is to best serve and support those harmed by human trafficking while assisting our law enforcement partners in holding perpetrators accountable,” said Undersecretary for Law Enforcement Terrence Reidy. “We are deeply grateful to all the subject matter experts who contributed to this important document and helped to enhance the Commonwealth’s response to an insidious form of exploitation.”

 “Identifying human trafficking, prosecuting offenders, and supporting survivors is vital work, and we could not do it without the support of local law enforcement and community providers,” said Undersecretary Catherine Mick, Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “Through our collaboration with our partners, including law enforcement, health and human service agencies and survivor led organizations, we can use these guidelines to build skills and processes that make every part of the system work better, and ultimately better identify trafficking and support survivors.”

“These guidelines will be a benefit to officers who are on the job now, and they’ll inform the curriculum that we teach in our academies,” said Chief Robert Ferullo, Executive Director of the Municipal Police Training Committee. “They cover a wide variety of circumstances, from initial encounters through trial, and they reflect the philosophy that we can only address and prevent human trafficking by recognizing the people at the heart of the case – the victims and survivors we in law enforcement serve.”

“Cases of human trafficking can be some of the most complex that we encounter in the criminal justice system,” said Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni.  “These guidelines, developed by police and prosecutors and informed by the lived experiences of survivors and advocates, represent a useful tool and knowledge base that will greatly assist local, county, and state law enforcement across the Commonwealth.”

“I’m pleased to join the rollout of these new guidelines, and I want to acknowledge the contributions from My Life My Choice’s young survivor leaders who gave input from their lived experience,” said Audrey Morrisey of My Life My Choice. “By welcoming input in their development, we’re building law enforcement professionals that better understand the needs of survivors, and can better support them through the process.”

A youth leader survivor said: “We would feel comfortable going to a police officer that we know was trained in commercial sexual exploitation.”

“The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Suffolk County is pleased to have contributed to the MA Human Trafficking Guidelines for Law Enforcement, integrating the voices and experiences of the CAC-based Child Trafficking Multidisciplinary Response Teams (MDTs) across Massachusetts.  No one agency can meet the myriad needs of survivors alone. MDTs work across disciplines to coordinate services for child victims, and to support the investigation and prosecution of offenders. When we combine and coordinate our efforts, survivors have a better chance of exiting exploitation and we are more likely to succeed in holding perpetrators accountable. We are grateful to our many partners spanning law enforcement, child welfare, and youth-serving service professionals and look forward to continuing this collaborative work,” said Beth Bouchard, MPH, Associate Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County.

The funding for the development of these guidelines was part of a 3-year, $1.5M grant to improve outcomes for child and youth victims from human trafficking from the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), which was awarded at the end of calendar year 2019. The grant activities are managed jointly by EOPSS and EOHHS, with support from the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Rolls Out Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Guidelines for Law Enforcement Professionals, and Law Enforcement Training Programs

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.
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